A Jamaican victim of the Windrush scandal has died in the UK without receiving compensation or personal apology from the British government
Who are the Windrush Generation-The Windrush generation arrived in the UK between the late 1940s and early 1970s. They were invited to move to the UK by the British government to help rebuild Britain after the second world war. However, since 2012 when the then home secretary Theresa May launched a crackdown on immigration, many Windrush members and their children have faced uncertainty and had their access to public services blocked
Richard Stewart moved from Jamaica to England, as a British subject, in 1955 aged 10 to join his parents, and played county cricket as a fast bowler for Middlesex in the 1960s under the name Wes Stewart.
He paid taxes in the UK for more than five decades but when he applied for a British passport in 2012, he was informed he was an overstayer. He was told he needed to pay £1,200 to naturalise, but did not have the money to pay and was unable to persuade officials a mistake had been made.
The former Middlesex bowler Richard Stewart had been waiting for his case to be resolved so he could travel back to Jamaica for the first time in half a century and visit his mother’s grave, but he died a week ago, aged 74.
His son, Wesley Stewart, said the cause of death was unknown, adding that his father had become stressed and depressed during the protracted process of attempting to sort out his paperwork and prove the government’s errors had caused him severe problems for years.
He described his father as “a pioneer of cricket for the Windrush generation, and a gentleman”. Wesley said his father had never wanted to see Britain as a racist country, but his views had changed as a result of his treatment by the Home Office. “It was blatant discrimination. The government made him feel like: you’re black, you shouldn’t be here, full stop,” he said.
Wesley Stewart said: “It was upsetting for him; he said he had been in the country for longer than David Cameron had been alive, but he worried about whether he was going to get deported.”
Stewart received a passport this year and was waiting to see whether a compensation payment would help fund a trip to the Caribbean. “His dream was that we would all go to the Caribbean and see where he was from,” his son said. Stewart had discussed the compensation forms with his son this month, but had not yet gathered all the paperwork to make an application. His death follows that of Sarah O’Connor in September, also before receiving an apology or compensation.
Many victims are finding the process of sorting out their affairs very challenging, 14 months after the government promised to rectify Home Office mistakes.